Why Leaving Wordpress For Squarespace Was Worth It And What I (Dis)Like About That.
Last few years I was building and canceling web sites. Always got an idea, built nice web and then I was not satisfied anymore, so I built another one and another and….until I realized that creating visual content is one thing what I really like to do. I tried Shopify, Wordpress and now I ended up with Squarespace. With Shopify, I spent like a year, with Wordpress five years and with Squarespace I'm for 3 months. So how can I possibly compare any platform with Squarespace? Well, it took me week or two to do an average web on Wordpress, but only 4 days to do a very nice looking site in Squarespace. I did adjust to it very easily and the drag and drop style is really performing pretty good.
So why did I actually left Wordpress?
To be honest, many reasons behind it but let me say, WordPress is an amazing platform, only it is not for me and maybe somewhere outside are people who have the similar issue and will find Squarespace more fitting their needs. I'm not a coder, I do have some average knowledge because from time to time I needed it in Wordpress otherwise I wouldn’t be satisfied fully with the look or specific function. I particularly also don’t have much interest to learn coding deeper – as I said, I love visual things. Very often I ended up spending too much time on performance, plugins research, etc. instead of creating content. So I left because my love-hate relationship with Wordpress was just too exhausting to me as an artist. I will list you 5 main issues I had with Wordpress and it will maybe save a lot of frustration for you.
It's awesome that you have so many themes from thousands of companies but it can be very overwhelming and usually when you will download or buy your own theme after you start with editing you will find a lot of things that are not working properly because of their very high lack of support or complexity and not good coding of the template. Some of the themes even ask you to install plugin what is not supported for a year or longer and you end up with a half-done site looking for alternatives. I even tried the Genesis framework for Wordpress there are visually beautiful themes available on the internet, but Genesis requires really a coding knowledge and a lot of time for newbies. In the end, I was happy with combo Astra Theme+ Elementor plugin I could create something nice but still, it kinda looked like not good enough for me and I also needed to invest some time to learn Elementor and every my theme.
At Squarespace, everything works the same way. Some themes have less or more options but once you understand the logic behind the architecture, it is so easy to maintain and change. Of course, there are many downgrades like lack of features and minimum support for 3rd party connection and extensions but here comes the question, do I really need it?
Hundreds of plugins. Free, paid, amazing. Well coded, lagged, not-updated, with amazing support there is a lot of choices for everyone. Many people are afterward getting very greedy and just want another plugin, and another one even for things you would never need on your web at all. It's just the set up in our head that we need to have 60 plugins even for a small business website about six pages. Occasionally you might break your site and if you don’t have a good hosting and limited back-ups, then the half day job you have just done is lost. On the other hand, many plugins are very useful and give you something extra what you need for your web. The question is for what money and how good coded the plugins is.
If we put together our domain, hosting, template, plugins, website builder we come to a question of performance and SEO. If you are a professional in website performance, well Wordpress is a winner over Squarespace for sure. But I was spending a crazy load of time to improve my performance and eventually I got possessed with it. I wanted a very good looking site with over average performance. Spending hours and hours learning and researching, starting with which hosting, which CDN, which plugins to optimize my site. In the end, I had my web broken like 100x and no new content in weeks at my blog. I didn’t want to be a Wordpress specialist I just wanted nice site what is not taking 20 s to load on the computer.
Squarespace is not very bad at performance and SEO but also not the best one for sure. Considering the visual beauty of the themes for me it’s the risk I'm willing to take. My blog is about graphic design, digital art, web design, and photography. I want it to be nice and artistic. If I would like to have a magazine with tons of articles daily or some big e-commerce shop I would reconsider my choice obviously.
Paying for Squarespace isn’t cheap. Especially the higher editions like business etc., but in my experience Wordpress neither. The most expensive one was for me Shopify. One nice template from their market? €150-200 is a normal price. Plus paying monthly cost, plus some extensions. Well, in the end, I got a very high number to pay monthly. Wordpress was cheaper, of course, the basic is for free. But the nice theme, good website builder, some additional plugins and you will get also something to pay monthly or yearly. Personally, then Squarespace is the winner for me because of its limits. It’s stopping me and my brain to want more. For what I pay I get and there is not so much space for me to invest time and money in tens of plugins. But what is working for me will not work for everyone indeed.
Learning curve and time investment
Learning Wordpress it's easy for the simple web but the other things like builder, plugins, and coding take a lot of time. I was investing too much into my web and there was almost nothing there. What was the sense? I became an average or advanced Wordpress user, that's handy occasionally, but not for my way of working. Luckily there are plenty of tutorials or courses for free, also extended paid ones, so for sure there is no lack of it on the market to get this knowledge. I'm trying to be better in digital art, graphic design, and web design – partially. The things I could solve two ways. Invest a lot of money to a developer and paid him to take care of my web or find something else. I did find Squarespace and for now, I'm very happy that I made this change.
Feel free to ask anything about this topic, if I know I will help, but be aware, in the end it is always your decision to make :)